By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
THE Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Wednesday said the Federal Government has been unfair to the Ijaw ethnic nationality of the Niger Delta.
Clark, a former Federal Commissioner for Information lamented that the time had come for the Federal Government to address the issue of the long years of neglect to which the Ijaw have been subjected by the Nigerian state.
Clark made the call while hosting Governor Seriake Dickson, who led a high-powered delegation of Bayelsa Government officials and Ijaw leaders to his Kiagbodo country home in Delta State, on a new year visit.
He prayed for the Federal Government to have the right attitude to address the Ijaw factor in the Nigerian Federation in 2018.
“This new year will touch the heart of the Federal Government that the Ijaw people have been neglected for too long. Something has to be done for them we want actual appreciation, something has to be done for us,” he said.
The Ijaw National Leader also commended Dickson for excellent leadership and efficient delivery of the dividends of democracy in Bayelsa State.
Clark hailed Dickson for the construction of the 40 year-old Sagbama Ekeremor road which he described as a marvel.
He stressed that he had every belief in the promise made by the governor to take the critical road which had reached Aleibiri in December 2017 to Ekeremor by December 2018.
He also commended the Dickson’s administration for the serious achievements in the education sector with the introduction of free quality primary and secondary school education in the state.
Clark said that he was touched by the establishment of model boarding secondary schools like the Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, and several others which offer free quality boarding education to Ijaw students.
While urging the governor not to relent in his bid to develop Bayelsa, he prayed that the governor’s detractors who are fired by jealousy, bitterness and hatred would fail.
His words, “You are the man who speaks for us, when you speak, we are very proud of you. God will continue to guide you. Those who want to cause trouble will be taken care of by God.
“I listened to the governor in 2012 when he was declaring an emergency in education and I was waiting to see what that meant. Recently he invited me to Bayelsa to see what he has done; he invited General Gowon and his wife. And what I saw in the field of education, if I don’t say it publicly I will be doing harm to myself.
“Gowon told me at the airport that he had not seen any school like that. Apart from the building, the students know what they are doing. I was very proud of them, and the governor said that the students are drawn from all Ijaw communities with the head girl coming from Arogbo in Ondo State.”
In his remarks, the governor said that he led the delegation to Kiagbodo on a Christmas and New Year visit to Pa Clark and other top Ijaw leaders in the country.
Dickson said that the visit was also partly motivated by the need to consult the Ijaw leaders on issues of urgent importance to the Ijaw nation.
He called for more unity in all the segments of the Ijaw movements especially the Ijaw Youth Council.
“We will consult on other issues of urgent important both at the level of Ijaw nation, and the larger Nigerian nation. Our leader is there to encourage us, to support us.
“So apart from bringing seasons greetings and warm felicitations to our leader and our fathers, I am also here to consult our leader because we have an urgent task to put the Ijaw Nation together. We have an urgent duty to put all sections and components of the Ijaw movement together.
“And so I want to make a public call for unity at all level, I call for unity in the IYC. I want to see greater unity, greater display of dedication at all level in the course of service to our people. I call for support as we move together to reposition the Ijaw Nation as we move forward.
“I call for peaceful coexistence in all the states where we have he ijaw nation. We also call for justice, fairness and equity.”
He promised to work hard to expand the frontiers of stability and development in Bayelsa.
Present at the event were Prof. Emeritus and prominent writer and author JP Clark, the Bolowei òf Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Wellington Okrika, who was the Pioneer Chairman of the Delta State Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, the President òf the Ijaw Youth Council, Mr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi, former Delta PDP Chairman, Chief Pius Sinebe.
Others are Hon. Fred Agbedi and Douye Diri òf the House of Representatives from Bayelsa, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House òf Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson, His Deputy, Hon Abraham Ngobere, Assembly members, commissioners, traditional rulers and others.